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18 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Sketch the layers of the atmosphere, labelling each one. Indicate with an arrow and the symbol O3 where the ozone layer occurs. Indicate with another arrow and the symbol O2 the layer where you think most of the oxygen in the atmosphere is found.

O2 74% in Troposhere and 24% in Stratosphere
What are some sources of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? Describe a negative effect of excess carbon dioxide.
Power plants
Respiring life forms

Greenhouse effect: Large excesses of carbon dioxide on the surface of the earth absorb IR and UV radiation and heat the surface causing global warming which will lead to the melting of the polar ice caps.
What are some sources of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere? Describe a negative effect of carbon monoxide.
Forest fires
Inefficient burning such as in furnaces or forest fires/volcanoes.

Carbon monoxide in the atmosphere is breathed in by respiring life forms and competes with oxygen for “Heme” iron sites in the hemoglobin of the blood. The carbon monoxide complex far more successfully with the iron sites than the oxygen does and the life form can experience unconsciousness, brain damage and death.
Write the following three equations which explain the formation of acid rain.
S + O2 --> SO2

2SO2 + O2 --> 2SO3

SO3 + H2O --> H2SO4 (((((Sulfuric Acid)
The equation for the oxidation of sulfur to sulfur dioxide.
S + O2 --> SO2
The equation for the oxidation of sulfur dioxide to sulfur trioxide.
2SO2 + O2 --> 2SO3
The equation for the reaction of sulfur trioxide with water to form sulfuric acid.
SO3 + H2O --> H2SO4
The ash from the volcanic explosions of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines is supposed to have lowered the average temperature of the earth in 1991, perhaps by as much as one degree Fahrenheit. What is the reason for this effect?
The haze of particulates, or smoke, is another form of air pollution that has a cooling effect as it shields the earth from sun, as evidenced by the effect on global temperature the year that the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines blanketed the globe with a layer of volcanic ash in the atmosphere.
What conditions in southern California make this area especially likely to experience photochemical smog?
One important weather pattern is the atmospheric inversion or thermal inversion, in which cool, dense air is trapped under a layer of warmer, lighter air. The normal upward-flowing air currents are prevented, and pollution accumulates. Atmospheric inversions can last from a few hours to a few days. They are most common in mountain valleys and coastal areas such as Los Angeles, home of some of the worst photochemical smog.
Name some important functions for the gases of the troposphere.
The gases of the atmosphere are very important to the survival of life on earth. Oxygen is needed by people and animals. Carbon dioxide is required by plants, and nitrogen from the atmosphere when converted to other chemical forms is used by plants as fertilizer. Water which has evaporated from the oceans is carried in the atmosphere and falls to earth as rain. Ozone in the atmosphere shields us from cancer causing ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The gases of the atmosphere also play an important role in maintaining the heat balance of the earth. Carbon dioxide and other gases absorb or trap infrared radiation, causing a warm layer of air near the earth.
Explain the main causes of acid rain. Why is New England especially effected by acid rain?
Power plant stacks emissions of SOX and NOX gases. data show significant sulfur deposition for each year, in an interesting pattern: the sulfur deposition does not occur in the same places as the power plants, but to the northeast of the sources as prevailing winds carry the pollution. Hence, northern Maine has no polluting power plants, but has significant sulfur deposition causing acid rain, originating in Midwest power plants.
What is thought to be the major gas contributing to the raising of the earth's average temperature in the past one hundred years? Name some other gases that contribute as well?
CO2 is the major gas

H2O, CFC's and Methane also contribute to this problem.
How do gases interact with electromagnetic radiation to cause the greenhouse effect?
Carbon dioxide molecules absorb much of this infrared radiation, because the molecular vibrations in the infrared energy range vibrate at the same frequencies as the CO2 molecules.
What are CFC's? How do they affect the atmosphere?
Chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC's, have been shown to react with ozone and destroy it allowing the high energy UV rays of the sun to penetrate the troposphere and cause increases in skin cancers and, crop yield reductions, to name a few.
Explain why asbestos workers who smoked were much more likely to develop cancer then those who did not.
Lung cancer is much more common in those workers exposed to asbestos who were cigarette smokers. This is an example of an important principle called the synergistic effect in which one substance enhances the effect of another. In this case the products of smoking have a synergistic effect with asbestos, greatly enhancing its ability to cause lung cancer.
Occasionally newspaper reports describe the deaths of persons who used charcoal heaters in an enclosed space to keep warm. Write a chemical equation to explain the formation of toxic gas under these circumstances.
Charcoal, which is mostly carbon, normally forms carbon dioxide when it is burned:
C + O2 ---> CO2

But if it is burned in an enclosed space, available oxygen will gradually be consumed, so that deadly carbon monoxide will begin to be formed:

2C + O2 ---> 2CO
Describe measures to decrease the formation of sulfur oxides as a byproduct of the combustion of coal.
Instead of transferring sulfur dioxide emissions to other areas with high smokestacks, power plants can install scrubbers which can remove up to 90% of sulfur dioxide. Coal can be processed before it is burned to remove acid-forming impurities. But the sulfur-containing byproducts will have to be disposed of somehow. And costs for these processes will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher utility rates.
Give the equation for formation of carbon dioxide from coal. Would changing to another fossil fuel take care of the problem of carbon dioxide formation? Explain.
COAL ----> C + O2 ----> CO2 + H2O

GASOLINE ----> 2 C8H18 + 25O2 ----> 16CO2 + 18H2O

NO, all fossil fuels burn to yield CO2 and H2O as the products if burning is inefficient (not enough O2) CO and Carbon as soot are also produced.